Setting Up Google Analytics Conversion Tracking

You may want to use Google Analytics to track conversions, rather than Marin Tracker. This article will show you how to set up conversion tracking with Google Analytics.

How To Set Up Google Analytics Conversion Tracking 

In order to properly set up Google Analytics conversion tracking, steps must be taken both by you and by your Marin account team. Below we'll outline the parts of the process you can carry out yourself. We recommend that you do this with the guidance of your Marin account representative ensure everything works correctly.

Your Tasks

  1. First, ensure that you've linked the Google Ads account to Google Analytics via the Admin option in Google Analytics. These two Google systems must be linked to complete the integration and sync your data correctly.
  2. Make sure the user is set at the Account level (as opposed to Property or View level). Then, add the email address to your GA4 property and grant Viewer access.
    This will ensure API access for Marin. You can add the email address by logging into the specific GA account and following the instructions found here.
  3. Identify if you are using autotagging ON and/or autotagging OFF
    • If using autotagging ON for Google objects: Make sure all UTM tracking parameters (except custom dimension utm_marin) are removed from Google keyword/creative URLs. Having both UTM tracking parameters and autotagging ON for the same Google objects has been known to cause conversion reporting issues. We strongly recommend you set up the custom dimension utm_marin to contain the parameters {targetid} to avoid keyword attribution failure since GA4 auto-tagging doesn’t support tracking parameters of match types anymore. 
    • If using autotagging OFF for Google objects and non-Google objects (ie. Microsoft): Make sure all UTM tracking parameters are appended on these URLs. And we strongly recommend utm_content to contain these parameters: utm_content=[uniq_id]|pcrid|{creative}|pkw|{keyword}|pmt|{matchtype} Please note the delimiter may vary. 
  4. Next, you'll need to create conversion types within Marin that represent the GA4 events you want tracked. If you are attempting to track conversions that are not events marked as conversion, please contact your Marin account representative for further information on what is supported.

    Please note, that GA rates and averages cannot be brought down to Marin.

    To create these conversion types, follow these steps:
    1. Click the Settings link in the top-right of Marin.
    2. Click the Revenue & Tracking, then choose the Conversion Types tab.
    3. Use the Create button ('plus' icon) to add your new conversion types.
  5. If you are not using Auto-tagging, please make sure the following have been completed:
    • URL Builder is set up with the correct UTM tracking parameters.
    • All of the keyword/creative URLs have these UTM tracking parameters.
    • The Tracking IDs setting is configured correctly to parse out the Tracking ID, {Creative}, {Keyword}, and {MatchType} values as specified in URL Builder.
  6. Click the Help link in the bottom-left of Marin, and contact our Customer Support team to make this GA mapping. Make sure to include the following information:
    1. The GA4 property name and property ID you would like mapped (the one you granted access to). The property ID is the number after the 'p' as seen in the URL address bar when you are logged into the GA account.
    2. The GA4 events name you would like mapped in correspondence to the conversion types created in Marin. If the events are not marked as conversions in GA, please specify the metrics you would like to track. For example:
      1. Event clicks corresponds to Link Click Convert conversion type
      2. Metrics eventCount of event clicks corresponds to the Link Click Count conversion type
    3. Let us know if you are using autotagging ON or autotagging OFF for your Google tracking. If you are using autotagging, please specify the source of the object tracking. For example:
      1. Autotagging On - Session stands for objects start the event session
      2. Autotagging On - First User stands for objects that first acquired the user
      3. Autotagging On - Conversion stands for objects attributed to the conversion event. Please make sure you mark the event as conversion GA for this option.
    4. Let us know if you are using UTM tracking parameters (including custom dimension utm_marin).
      1. Please provide a template or an example of UTM tracking parameters value and utm tracking parameter name.
      2. Please also specify the tracking parameter you would like to track. For example: pcrid corresponds to Creative ID. 
      3. Please contact your Marin account representative if you have questions about what information you will need to provide.
    5. If you would like GA data to be backfilled, please specify the date of how far back you would like this to be processed.
      1. GA4 and UA (the old version of GA) do not share the same data source, so historical data backfill from UA will become impossible once UA support has been sunset from GA. 

Internal Tasks

The next steps will need to be taken by your Account Team. They will work internally to set up your revenue integration using the above details and bring in the requested GA conversion data. Please reach out to your Marin account representative to complete this process.

Migrating From Auto-Tagging To Manual Tagging

If your revenue integration is currently configured for Google Ads Auto-Tagging and you would like to migrate to Manual tagging for your Google campaigns, you can seamlessly update your account and preserve historical conversions.

If you would like to move forward with a migration, please follow up with your Marin account representative to plan the migration for your account. This is a technical configuration that can result in data loss if not done correctly. Your account representative and/or the Customer Support team can advise on steps for a successful migration.

The following will need to be done to your account for this migration:

  • Update URL Builder for Google Publisher / GA Manual Tagging.
  • Review the Tracking IDs window to verify URL parameters will parse correctly.
  • Download all URLs, remove existing tracking and re-upload to append GA manual tagging.
  • Request your account representative or Customer Support update your account's revenue integration for GA Manual Tagging.
  • Update Google Analytics to allow manual tagging to override auto-tagging.
    • In Google Analytics, go to Admin > Property Settings > Advanced Settings
    • Check the Allow manual tagging (UTM values) to override auto-tagging (GCLID values) button.
  • Revenue tracking will be based on manual tagging going forward.

Please note the manual tagging override setting in Google Analytics will preserve your historical conversions and prevent any gaps in tracking. In addition, it is unnecessary to disable auto-tagging in Google Ads if the manual tag override setting is enabled.

Additional Information About GA Conversion Tracking

  • We recommend that you keep Auto-tagging OFF to ensure greater conversion accuracy (this requires URLs tagged with the UTM parameter), however GA tracking can be set up with Auto-tagging ON if necessary.
  • Each client account may have multiple GA revenue mappings to one conversion type (in Overwrite mode) as long as there is no overlap between the mappings. Make sure that each mapping is for a different set of keywords and creatives in the account, and this should not be an issue.
  • If you are using Auto-tagging ON, it's better to make sure to remove system default UTM parameters from your Google URLs (excluding the custom dimension utm_marin). When you use auto-tagging, you can't modify automatically tagged parameters with UTM parameters. Analytics will attribute all traffic data based on the gclid information.

Additional Information About Google Click Identifier

gclid (Google Click Identifier) is a globally unique tracking parameter used by Google to pass information back and forth between Google Ads and Google Analytics. If you enable URL auto-tagging in Google Ads, Google will append a unique ?gclid parameter on your destination URLs at run-time. Because it is a redirect, you won't see any gclid parameters on your Google Ads text ad destination URLs, but it will show up in your Web server log files.

Important Notes

  • If for any reason you adjust your utm_content parameter, or turn Google Ads Auto-tagging on or off, please file a Customer Support ticket or contact your Marin account representative. Our team will ensure that the change occurs smoothly.
  • Note that keyword level and content attribution can be inaccurate if using auto-tagging due to the way Google Analytics reports metrics at the keyword text only and no match_type information in GA4 API now. We suggest setting up the custom dimension utm_marin to track parameter {targetid}
  • If you are using Google Analytics Auto Tagging and seeing failed revenue upload rows, this normally means that GA is tracking things that are not linked to Marin.

Written by Marketing @ Marin Software

Last published at: January 18th, 2024